Game day is demanding. There is food to eat and teams to cheer on, so it's important to hydrate, and there is no better mate for football than beer — plenty of it, and chilled well, of course. Don't even bother loading up the fridge with beer, because once the game gets heated, it'll be hard to move your eyes away from the screen (and you'll need to keep the fridge free for food). An ice-filled cooler just behind the sofas will work perfectly.
For those who don't drink, be sure to have an assortment of sodas, as well.
It's not that difficult to open a jar of salsa, pour it into a bowl, then set it out with a large bowl of chips — so why are there no nibbles out and cocktails waiting to be poured for friends who beat traffic and arrived 15 minutes early?
About a half hour or so before guests arrive, set up snacks that can easily sit out for a couple of hours. Then, heat up the hot food. Once people start arriving, you can start bringing out batches of hot queso and your infamous white chicken chili.
Come halftime, the Material Girl will be gracing the stage, catching the eyes of more than 100 million people. So whether it's the game or the girl that's your reason to pay attention, everyone benefits from a little "Holiday," "Like a Prayer," and "Vogue" to get the party started.
Game day is like the holidays for sports fans. Even if you are doing well on your New Year's diet resolution and watching your waistline doesn't mean everyone else is, so bring out the greasy finger foods. Wings. Queso. Nachos. Pizza. Giant subs. And something equally as delicious for the vegetarians. It's fine to have some carrot sticks and low-fat whatever for abstainers, but keep the focus on game day favorites.
When hosting a party, messes are bound to happen, so don't hover over guests out of fear that they will spill and dribble. Take preventative action by making sure to have plenty of napkins and disposable plates — and lots of paper towels. Similarly, now is not the time to bring out the fancy glassware and plates.
Should a spill happen, have some Shout wipes, Nature's Miracle, white vinegar, and Fantastik within arm's reach for quick action. And be sure to read our tips for fighting stains with common kitchen supplies.
If you abide by the "no eating on the couch" rule, game day should be the one day out of the year to break that rule. What's watching the game without a beer and a bowl of Frito Pie in hand?
Minimize missed game moments by setting up a buffet in the same room as the big screen. Have some wings and chips spread on the coffee table, and a simple spread of more pizza, nachos, and slow cookers filled with hearty chili (for Frito Pie, of course) close by for quick refilling.
When easily portable snacks and beverages reign supreme, you're a pathetic guest if you arrive on game day empty-handed. It's not that hard to stop at the corner bodega and pick up a bag of Ruffles, some Coors, or even honey-roasted cashews. Step up your game, my friend.
That means no picking fights or providing a running commentary throughout the night. Same goes for bringing your personal life baggage, be it problems with work or your ex, along with you — or letting on that the reason you're leaving before the end of the first quarter is because you're headed to another (bigger, better) shindig.
If you're only there to eat your friend's famous homemade chips and watch the commercials, keep it to yourself.
You should have learned this in grade school. If you really like the dip, and need every part of your chip covered in it, use a spoon and make your own dipping station on your plate. And don't ever get caught using your fingers (then licking the extra cheese off them).
And even if you do love that queso, don't hog it all for yourself. You want to be invited back next year, right?
Even if you're 300 percent caught up in the game, it doesn't mean you can't get up and dispose of your empty plate studded with congealed nacho cheese.
And hosts, make it easy for your guests and move the trash a little closer to the screen than the hidden cabinet in the kitchen. It's in your best interest. Need we say more?
The ultimate in game day crimes. Stock up on all of your favorite snacks, load up the fridge with drinks, and stock up on ice. If guests ask to bring something, take them up on it. And be sure to have water and something to eat at the end of the game before guests leave (so you don't have to end up calling the cab company — though it doesn't hurt to have their number on hand).
Worst case scenario? Have your local pizza delivery takeout menu by the phone — or on speed dial.
Be it a 14- or 47-inch screen, it might not be high on your to do list when hosting a game day get-together, between making the chili and assembling the spinach dip. But should the cable connection die or your local cable provider have an outage, you're going to want to know in advance. At the very least, know what channel the game is broadcast on and have it already on come party time.
Not having space to accommodate everyone is a problem. While some might prefer to stand, a host should still make sure there is a place for everyone to sit, chair or couch (sorry, the floor doesn't count — but if that is someone's preference, so be it). Pack up any valuables so that antique vase doesn't come crashing down when your tipsy friend knocks into the table — and tuck away those cords to prevent tripping.
Game day isn't about as cramming as many people into your place as possible (and reaping those extra bags of chips and bottles of beer). Think quality rather than quantity.